Israeli soldiers have clashed with some 150 Palestinians trying to block Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank. Palestinians have tried several times to set up encampments to stop expansion in recent weeks.
Soldiers used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse protesters and remove about a dozen tents and small huts from the al-Manatir camp near the West Bank village of Burin Saturday, witnesses and the Army said. No serious injures were reported.
An Israeli military spokeswoman said troops used non-lethal riot dispersal tactics on the Palestinians, who were throwing stones. Settlers and Palestinians were also involved in a stone-throwing clash on a nearby road, on which people from both sides were slightly injured.
The Palestinians are trying to draw attention to Israel's control of territory they want for their future state. In particular, they are protesting what they say is Israel's broad policy of not allowing Palestinians to build in areas under Israeli control.
The building of Palestinian encampments is similar to those built by hard-line Jewish settlers who have established a series of outposts throughout the West Bank. Although Israel views such outposts as illegal, few have been dismantled. Around 500,000 Israelis live in Jewish settlements scattered throughout the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
Israel's settlement activity is seen as illegal by the international community. On Thursday, a UN report strongly criticized Israel's settlement policy, saying it violates the human rights of Palestinians, and called on the country to stop further construction.
dr/rc (AP, Reuters)